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Puritans: Their Origins and Successors Hardcover – April 1, 1987
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Author: Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Publisher: The Banner of Truth Trust
First Copyright: 1987
Type of Book: Hardback
General Subject Matter: Historical, Theological
Special Features: None
This book is a collection of messages that were delivered by the now deceased Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Lloyd-Jones was a former pastor of Westminster Chapel and the key-note speaker of the Puritan and Westminster Conferences. These conferences ran from 1959-1978. This volume consists of nineteen messages.
The Conference began as interest in the writings of the English Puritans gained popularity amongst a group of students who were members of the Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union. These students developed an interest in the writings of the Puritans, particularly John Owen and Richard Baxter.
There is no particular theme to this book. Therefore there is also no particular thesis to this book. Each message has its own theme and thesis.
There is no means or method of development as such since this again is not a book, but a collection of messages.
I found each message to be interesting and informative. I enjoyed reading them and actually learned quite a bit. Lloyd-Jones chose topics of interest, value, and historical significance to speak on during these conferences. The publishers chose nineteen of the best of these addresses for this collection.
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones (20 December 1899 - 1 March 1981) was a Welsh Protestant minister, preacher and medical doctor who was influential in the Reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 30 years, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London.
I heartily recommend this book to any reader. The wide variety, careful preparation, intelligence, and wit of Dr. Lloyd-Jones makes this a great read for anyone.
One example, drawn from his last address, on John Bunyan, illustrates how a study of the Puritans can be very relevant to our present day concerns. In his own day (the late 17th century) the nature of the church was a hotly disputed issue, even among the Puritans, who were certainly not of one mind here. Bunyan himself was a Separatist, meaning that he considered that the church consisted of visible saints. In this regard he stood opposed to the Roman Catholics, the Anglicans, and the Presbyterians. He also considered himself an Anabaptist, believing in baptism by immersion. However for him this issue was one of secondary importance. He argued that a believer already has that which baptism signifies, that being his participation in the death and resurrection of Christ. The sign, therefore, though important, should not be something that disrupts communion between Christians. For it is the thing that water baptism signifies that is important. Bunyan wrote these things and was strongly attacked in writing by some of his strict Baptist brothers. He held his ground but hated the controversy which he was convinced was over non-essentials, and so after responding to his critics he never mentioned the subject again. A reader of his "Pilgrim's Progress" would have no idea what his denominational affiliation was. A further testimony to the liberty which he believed in can be seen in the fact that though he himself was a believer in adult baptism by immersion, he had three of his children baptized in infancy.
Lloyd Jones' chapter on John Bunyan has certainly given me, who has struggled much over the question of baptism, much to think about. His discussions of John Knox, Jonathan Edwards, and others truly bring these distant Puritans to life and show how they are relevant to the issues we face in today's church.